Burt Reynolds’ four-decade feud with Hollywood bombshell
Switching Channels: Trailer for 1988 film starring Kathleen Turner
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Burt Reynolds was enjoying a career renaissance when he passed away in 2018. The actor, who was born on this day in 1936, had starred that year in The Last Movie Star and been cast in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. In fact, the last thing he ever did was run lines for the film with his assistant. Yet, throughout his long and turbulent time in Tinseltown the actor had never been one to mince words. He was still trading brutal insults with Kathleen Turner right to the very end.
The two stars shared the screen in 1988’s comedy Switching Channels, however, Turner was always quick to point out that her original leading man was supposed to have been Michael Caine.
Thirty years after they clashed so badly on set the crew were forced “to take sides”, they both went on the same chat show (at different times) and continued to air their dirty laundry.
Watch What Happens: Live host Andy Cohen asked Reynolds who he thought was the “most overrated actor of the 1970s and 1980s” and he replied “Kathleen Turner.”
When Cohen later had Turner on as a guest he reminded her she’d once told him that William Hurt was her best on-screen kisser, and now he wanted to know who was the worst.
Turner did not hesitate to reply: “Oh, that would have to be Burt Reynolds,” before adding, “He sucked.”
However, it appeared that there had been far worse problems between the pair than bad lip action on the set of what was supposed to be a light-hearted romantic drama – and that was before the film absolutely bombed at the box office.
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Both Turner and Reeve had signed on thinking they would have a very different co-star – one with whom both were eager to work.
Turner told Cohen: “I was supposed to do the film with Michael Caine. Good choice, right? Well, Michael Caine got caught on Jaws 4, the shark kept breaking down, and so I was pregnant and I had a stop date, but he did not. So we shot everything we could without him, and then finally the producer went and hired Burt Whatshisface.”
In another 2018 interview, Turner revealed that her relationship with Reynolds had started badly and never recovered.
Turner told Vulture: “Working with Burt Reynolds was terrible. The first day Burt came in he made me cry. He said something about not taking second place to a woman.
“His behaviour was shocking. It never occurred to me that I wasn’t someone’s equal. I left the room sobbing. I called my husband and said, ‘I don’t know what to do.’ He said, ‘You just do the job.’
“It got to be very hostile because the crew began taking sides. But as for the performance, I was able to put the negativity aside. I’m not convinced Burt was.”
The atmosphere on set was matched by the audience response. Switching Channels only took $9million at the box office, against production costs of almost $30million. Reynolds and Reeve were both nominated for Golden Raspberries for Worst Actor and Supporting Actor.
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